Ecommerce.co.za

Say hello to the Amazon opportunity

by Mirelle de Vaal
Placing the correct information on the product detail page is vital to brands’ success on the platform.

For a long time, consumers and brands saw Amazon only as the ultimate “add to cart” destination. But sentiment has changed - quite a bit, in fact - in the minds and the behaviour of consumers, but even more noticeably in the minds of the brands selling their products on Amazon.

And while Amazon is still fresh to the South African market, the brilliant and varied brand-building opportunities that will be available to businesses selling on Amazon need to be noted.

True to the Amazon way, let’s start with the customer. After all, we’re talking about one of the most customer-centric companies today, if not the most customer-centric one.

Here are a few fun facts. Did you know that customers no longer come to Amazon with an already defined shopping list? In fact, 75% of customers come to discover new products, and 68% of customers just window shop, without a specific brand or product in mind. Add to that the fact that more than half of customers say they come to Amazon to be inspired and to find brands and products they were previously unfamiliar with.

The bottom line? If consumers are using the Amazon landscape to explore, research, discover and be inspired along their purchase journey, brands need to focus on being present and relevant where it matters most.

Brands are no longer just selling their products on Amazon but are using Amazon’s incredible storytelling offering (yes, you read correctly) to build a seriously sturdy bridge from content to commerce. While it may take a while for the vast array of Amazon ads products and storytelling mechanisms to launch in South Africa, it’s worth taking a quick peek into how developed Amazon markets are making the most of the content-to-commerce adventure.

L'Oréal’s dermatological brand CeraVe was one of the first movers in its category to embark on this adventure on Amazon. When it comes to skincare and related concerns, customers want as much information as they can get before making a purchase decision. Knowing this, the brand partnered with Amazon in Canada to create a virtual CeraVe Skincare Lab. Encouraged to “start exploring”, customers can take a quiz that generates a skincare routine tailored to their needs. If ingredients are a customer’s main concern they can dive into the “ingredients lab”.

These content offerings and much more are waiting to be explored on the CeraVe “store”, found on Amazon. The exciting part? Purchase is always one click away. You’re not redirected to a different site. You don’t need to fill in your details again. You can simply “add to cart”.

Product detail page: your new shop window

While “stores” (welcome to Amazon lingo) are due to launch in South Africa as an imminent next step of the local rollout, a brand’s product detail page (PDP) is, and will forever be, key to its success on Amazon. This is where shoppers make their final product selection. The PDP is also a brand’s online shelf space and offers a chance to differentiate and stand out among competitors.

High-quality content at every touch point on the PDP will inform the customers’ experience, and ultimately directly affect their purchase decision. So it’s vital to get these right. Here are some of the fundamental content elements to have correct from the get-go:
  • Always ensure that you’re addressing any purchase barriers. Depending on the product category, purchase barriers could be missing information (like the active ingredients in your beauty product) or contradicting information (like a key benefit listed on your packaging image that doesn’t match your product description copy).
  • In this case, less is not more. Include detailed and educational information in your product descriptions. But don’t confuse that with repetitive information. Be concise, informative and factual.
  • Only use impactful high-resolution images. This is your opportunity to show your product to your customers, so quality matters.
  • Go to the effort of using A+ content. And no, A+ does not refer to the excellence level of the content. It’s Amazon speak and was formerly known as enhanced brand content. In short, A+ content allows brands to customise product detail pages on Amazon that include extra features like images, videos, charts and tables in a contextual presentation to improve the shopping experience.
These are just the basics. There are plenty of PDP best practices to delve into.

Once your PDP is top-notch, you’ll want to drive traffic there. Amazon has gone the extra mile to develop dynamic and intuitive ad products, not to mention seriously innovative targeting possibilities. After all, 71% of consumers want to see ads tailored to their personalised interests and shopping habits. Which is exactly what they’ll get on Amazon.

The ad products that will launch in the not-so-distant future include sponsored products, sponsored brands and sponsored display. Here’s a quick overview of what each of these products entails:
  • Sponsored products are cost-per-click ads that promote individual product listings on Amazon and select premium apps and websites.
  • Sponsored brands promote brand discovery and consideration by using static and video brand creatives in the shopper journey.
  • Sponsored display uses machine-learning and multiformat creatives to help businesses reach customers wherever they spend time, across the Amazon store plus on thousands of apps and websites.
Each of these products can be used in highly effective ways, depending on the customer funnel stage.

Content to commerce is still in its infancy in South Africa, but things are about to change. The planet of Amazon opens up new worlds of opportunities for brands and content marketers. Top brands around the world already know this, and early adopter brands in South Africa will follow suit very soon.

Mirelle de Vaal is head of the retail division and content director at content-led marketing agency 2Stories. She was previously the creative strategist and team lead for the global beauty category at Amazon Ads in Germany.

Useful resources:
The Red Zone
The Red Zone is a marketing and media website featuring breaking news from the industry as well as insightful opinion pieces and up to the minute event coverage.
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